It was once an inescapable facet of modern life: You or your family knew someone affected by a Decoy Name on Facebook.
It seemed like a perfect plan. That Jessica Giatis chick in your Strat Comm class was gripped by a primal desire to share evidence that she passed out on the wheelchair ramp of an Arby’s – AGAIN – with the Internet at large. It was the Age of Transparency. A reputation for zaniness was at stake.
But in the back of her mind, Jessica knew that certain employers would frown on this brand of recreation. So one day, you did a brief double-take when Jessica’s recent wall posts suddenly become attributed to “Jess G-Attitude.’
Unlike Miss Giatis, who had actually interned at a reputable PR firm and was known to enjoy Romantic literature, Jess G-Attitude was a no-holds-barred, fist-pumping, bong smashing, bouncer-grinding party machine. She would roll up onto your lawn at 7 p.m. the night before your most important final, blasting a house remix of a Miley Cyrus anthem and demanding, in no uncertain terms, that someone “order a pizza up in this b*tch.’ She spent her daylight hours cloaked in a hoodie, passed out in lecture or shuffling across the quad with two eyes firmly on the pavement.
But then,Facebook cracked the whip. In early 2009,it started terminating accounts with fake-sounding last names to promote a friendly Internet neighborhood where everyone has a trustworthy identity. Jess G-Attitude and I.P. Freely and Carl Winslow were retired just as quickly as they sprang forth. Inevitably, the vast majority of these people simply substituted their middle name for their last name to beat the system. But for thousands of users, this was the day the juvenile humor died.